Gov’t committed to ending illegal logging – Min. Bharrat
Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Vickram Bharrat says Guyana’s logging sector will be transformed as the Government makes strides to end illegal logging.
Minister Bharrat was at the time speaking at a ceremony hosted by the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) on Friday to commemorate the International Day of Forests 2021.
“We need to curb illegal logging. Illegal logging destroys the forest, it paints a bad picture on the Forestry Commission in Guyana, and it creates unfair competition for the legal loggers, people who are paying their royalties, their taxes. I know it is an uphill task, but the Government is committed to the task,” the Minister said.
Minister Bharrat also stressed the importance of producing value-added products, noting that this is one of the avenues through which the sector could generate additional earnings.
“We need to compete regionally; we need to compete internationally. If we cannot compete regionally and internationally, then it means that the forestry sector will not be rebuilt in a way we want it to. For too long, Guyana and Guyanese have been settling for what we term mediocracy; it’s about time we raise the bar, it’s about time we advertise brand Guyana so that people can know that we can produce high-quality wood products too,” Minister Bharrat said.
Minister Bharrat added that there would be interventions at the primary level, including proper training and the establishment of suitable infrastructure.
“Infrastructure is one of the big issues that is carrying up the cost for loggers in Guyana. In order to become competitive internationally, we need to reduce the cost by ensuring that we have proper infrastructure. It means that the time it takes to bring out one load of logs from the interior to Georgetown, it will then take half of the time. The money that the loggers would spend for maintenance of the trucks and the fuel the use will be reduced by half. So good infrastructure automatically carries down your production cost.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Gillian Smith, Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization, signalled a continued partnership with the GFC.
“We are grateful that we have the opportunity to collaborate with you, and we really want to ensure that going forward, we continue, and we hope that you see us as a valuable partner,” Dr. Smith relayed.
Also at the event was Mr. Rafeek Khan, President of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association, who noted that while there were significant challenges in the past, there is hope that the manufacturing sector will see major growth in the coming years.
The International Day of Forests is observed on March 21, annually. The theme for this year is “Forest Restoration: A path to recovery and wellbeing.”